Treading the middle line when it comes to sugar
Believe it or not, we have a book at home called ‘Cinderella’s Bottom.’ It’s a great story, all about bottoms (obviously) and feet and noses and a variety of other body “bits”, and how they come in lots of different shapes and sizes. The overriding message is that it doesn’t matter what kind of bum or nose or pair of feet you have, all shapes and sizes are useful for all sorts of different things and all are lovely in their own way. It’s been a really fun book to help me along the self-acceptance journey with my girls, but it does come with one minor flaw. Because if we teach our kids that a big bottom is perfectly acceptable, then they will think it’s ok to say — loudly — on the beach — “Mummy! LOOK! That lady has a REALLY BIG bottom and REALLY BIG feet!”
And what am I supposed to do in that situation? Because if I hush my child, she will sense that there is something wrong in what she is saying. If I explain that some people don’t like to be told they have big bottoms or big feet, that undermines the very essence of what we are doing. It reminds me again that there is a middle line here in the whole body image saga — because I want my girls to be kind and accepting of themselves and others indiscriminately — and yet reality makes that tricky.
Let me emphasise again where all this has come from (and if you have missed a few weeks, pop back online and catch up because it’s been a long conversation). I am not telling my girls that weight doesn’t matter, and I am certainly not telling them that being overweight to the point of being unhealthy is a good thing. But it can’t be about weight first and foremost. Otherwise we are just telling them that what we see on the outside, is the most important thing.
To be honest, we haven’t really had a conversation about “weight” at all. We have talked a lot about healthy food and how important it is to choose food that nourishes your body — that protects it and helps it grow. Generally, a healthy weight comes hand in hand with that, because if you choose whole, real, natural unprocessed food, the vast majority of the time — and if you stay active too — your weight will likely settle in a healthy place.
The problem is, as you know, choosing natural, unprocessed food most of the time — as simple as it sounds — can be tricky. That’s because almost everything you buy on-the-go is processed, and because our kids get sucked into the sugary trap from the moment they first taste birthday cake. My friends often joke at parties because my kids head straight for the sugary stuff. But do my kids love sugar because they don’t have it at home? No. (And I know that because they do have it at home, just without the chemicals.) Is it because they don’t have much of it at home? Maybe. But am I supposed to give them lots of it at home just so they are more moderate at parties? That can’t be the answer, can it?
So in the end, when it comes to sugar, I tread the middle line again. I give my kids more natural treats at home. I teach them about healthy food but let them have the same as everyone else at parties or events. Occasionally I draw the line. And as they grow, I’ll show them the tricks of the trade to help them choose sweet stuff that they can enjoy, without damaging their health. My heartfelt hope is that they too find the middle line as adults. My desperate hope, is that wherever their weight falls, they can be happy and comfortable in their own skin.
Above all, I want to keep food fun for them. Making cookies and licking the bowl should be part of everyone’s childhood don’t you think? But if you would like to do it a healthier way, then try out this recipe I got from a friend. It’s completely free of processed sugar — using ripe bananas and apple sauce for sweeteners instead. The almond butter and oats provide protein, good fats and fibre that help to slow down the release of sugar into the blood stream, which should mean an energy boost without the sugar frenzy. You could even switch out some of the oats for Chia seeds to turn these into supercookies. Enjoy!
Chocolate Banana Oatmeal Cookies (makes approx. 30)
3 very ripe bananas
2 cups oats (gluten free if you like)
¼ cup almond butter (smooth or chunky. Use Sunbutter if nut free)
¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder or raw cacao powder (Supermart)
⅓ cup unsweetened applesauce
1 tsp. vanilla extract (optional)
1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
2. Mash bananas in a large bowl and then stir in the rest of the ingredients. Let the mix stand for approximately 20 minutes.
3. Drop by teaspoonfuls onto a baking sheet and bake for 10-12 minutes.
The advice given in this article is not intended to replace medical advice, but to complement it. Always consult your GP if you have any health concerns. Catherine Burns BA Hons, Dip ION is the Managing Director of Natural Ltd and a fully qualified Nutritional Therapist trained by the Institute for Optimum Nutrition in the UK. Please note that she is not a Registered Dietitian. For details, please go to www.natural.bm or call 236-7511. Join Catherine on Facebook: www.facebook.com/nutrifitandnaturalnutritionbermuda